Date of Award

4-28-2015

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

Lady Macbeth, the bloodthirsty queen of Scotland, wife of the butcher king Macbeth, is one of the most memorable female villains of English literature. Though William Shakespeare takes much of the content of Macbeth from Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Lady Macbeth is almost entirely his own creation. He takes a one-sentence character from his source and expands and elevates her to the infamous rank of Macbeth’s “dearest partner in greatness,” from which position she acts as the driving force behind his horrific deeds through much of the play (I.v.11). Perhaps the most famous of Shakespeare’s additions to Lady Macbeth’s role is the sleepwalking scene, which serves as the climax of her theatrical power.

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